igus tribo-filaments take on the soapbox challenge

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igus engineers have compared the abrasion resistance of 3D-printed plastic parts made of iglidur I180 and standard ABS materials. However, to make the test procedure more exciting, the engineers decided to 3D print plastic plain bearings out of each material and insert them into the wheels of a soapbox car.

igus tribo-filaments take on the soapbox challengeUnder laboratory conditions, both wheels are set in motion spinning to simulate the soapbox car travelling down a steep hill at 26km/h … that’s 16mph. It isn’t very long before the ABS bearing heats up and melts, which, in the real world of soapbox racing, would have resulted in the wheel detaching from the car putting the driver to an undignified standstill. Why the epic fail?

All tribo-filaments and SLS materials from igus are up to 50 times more abrasion resistant than standard 3D print materials. The heat generated from the friction on the ABS bearing melted the material in just over 8 minutes; even though a standard soapbox race usually lasts for less than a minute, results from the challenge confirm that igus 3D printed parts are suitable for use in real life applications. Suitable for prototyping and small production batches, igus printed components can also replace worn parts quickly, which helps reduce downtime.

While tribo-filament and SLS materials are available for on-site printing, igus also offers a rapid 3D print service. Through its online 3D print tool,, users can drag and drop their STEP design file to get instant pricing and, upon ordering, actual parts will be despatched within 24 hours, depending on the complexity and size of the printed component.

To watch the two materials taking on the soapbox challenge, please follow this link:

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